Skin microbiota #13
By Pr. Markku Voutilainen
Turku University Faculty of Medicine; Turku University Hospital, Department of Gastroenterology, Turku, Finland
About this article
Coconut oil for the scalp microbiota!
A recent study has shown that coconut oil can help maintain a healthy scalp by improving the scalp microbiota. The researchers compared the impact of coconut oil and a neutral shampoo on the scalp bacterial and fungal microbiota of 140 women with and without dandruff. The scalps of the women with dandruff had a much higher abundance of uncharacterized Malassezia species, fungus known to accelerate the development of dandruff and inflammation. Conversely, the fungus species M. globosa, was found in abundance on the scalps of the women with no dandruff or itching. Treatment with coconut oil brought the ratio of M. globosa to other groups of Malassezia in line with that of healthy scalps. Although no significant differences were observed between the bacterial microbiota of the healthy group and that of the dandruff group, both groups saw an increase in bacteria involved in the metabolism of biotin following coconut oil treatment. Biotin, a B vitamin that is essential for the maintenance of healthy skin and a healthy scalp, is also known to reduce inflammation. Further studies are required to understand the underlying mechanisms, but for the researchers, the positive effect of coconut oil on the composition and function of the scalp microbiota is the first step towards the longer-term restoration of scalp health.